May 12, 2021

“Sitting the Month”, Honoring the First 40 Days of Postpartum with Dr. Lily Yu Gillespie

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the first 40 days after birth is honored by “sitting the month.” It’s a time of confinement and healing believed to be crucial to the future health of the new parent and newborn.

I first heard about this tradition from one of my students and was immediately intrigued. As a person who barely waited 10 days to resume life, the idea of hunkering down, resting, being cared for by family or other support people sounded foreign and inviting. I wanted to learn more about this ancient custom. 

In this episode of Yoga| Birth|Babies, I speak with Doctor of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine, licensed and board-certified acupuncturist and clinical herbalist, Dr. Lily Yu Gillespie. Lily shares her own hesitation to “sit the month” after her first birth and how some of the methods like binding helped repair her pelvic organ prolapse. Lily also explains the value of warmth, steam, and herbal food or medicinal food can play in healing from the ordeal of birth. This conversation offers a different perspective from the “get up and go” mentality of American postpartum. 

In this episode you will learn: 

  • About Dr. Lily Yu Gillespie and how she got into postpartum care.
  • What is “Sitting the month”?
  • The value of ice and heat in healing. 
  • Lily’s person postpartum experience and what she learned from it. 
  • Binding and pelvic organ prolapse. 
  • What to expect in the first 40 days of postpartum care.
  • What new parents do during their confinement period.
  • The mental preparation needed for this type of confinement practice.
  • Suggestion for expectant people who don’t have previous knowledge about herbal food or medicinal food.
  • A view of other culture’s version of the first 40 days of postpartum care in comparison with the American postpartum care. 
  • A few practices to promote healing for someone to adopt if they don’t have the support or opportunity to have 40 days postpartum confinement.
  • How to find a TCM practitioner who can support the 40 days postpartum care period.
  • A tip/piece of advice Lily has for new or expectant parents.
  • Where to find Lily’s work!

About Dr. Lily Yu Gillespie:

Lily is a Doctor of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine, a licensed and board-certified acupuncturist and clinical herbalist. She was born and raised in Taiwan until she immigrated to the United States to pursue a career in Dance. Lily received a BA in Dance Education from East Carolina University and an MFA in Dance Choreography from the University of North Carolina. She performed with Kun Yang Lin and Dancers and taught at Scilla Dance Studio in New York for over 15 years. Through dance, Lily gained an intimate perspective of the biomechanics of the human body and pivoted her focus to study the human body through a scientific lens.

When Lily returned to school for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, she returned to her roots. Growing up with her family, consuming herbal dishes were part of everyday life. Studying Traditional Chinese Medicine helped her gain a deeper understanding of how the human body functions biomechanically, emotionally, and spiritually as a whole. Lily specializes in women’s health, fertility, and postpartum care. She and her husband have a private practice in New York City and are raising three beautiful children in Princeton, New Jersey.

Additional Resources:

Connect with Lily:

Dr. Lily Yu Gillespie, LAc, DAOM

928 Broadway Suite 303

New York, NY. 10010

  • 917-929-4457

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Get the most out of each episode by checking out the show notes with links, resources and other related podcasts 

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